Banyana outplay Tanzania
Johannesburg - Portia Modise marked her return to the Banyana Banyana side with a goal in each half as the South African Senior Women's National Team outplayed Tanzania by five goals to two (5-2) in an international friendly played at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.GALLERY: Past weekend in pictures
The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana will be satisfied with their performance, knowing that they could have scored more.
Banyana Banyana head coach Joseph Mkhonza started the match with USA-based goalkeeper Roxanne Barker in goal, while also giving game time to Mary Ntsweng on the right wing, with Refiloe Jane - usually used as a right back - operating in the centre of midfield next to skipper Amanda Dlamini.
"We wanted to give all of our players some game time and not just have substitutes watching from the bench," said Mkhonza before the match.
Back in the national team after a three-year absence, former captain Modise made the most of her 88th appearance for Banyana Banyana, scoring a soft tap-in goal in the 25th minute. This was after Tanzania goalkeeper Fatma Omar fumbled the ball to the feet of the Palace Super Falcons striker -- marking the 67th goal of Modise's international career.
Two minutes into the second half, Banyana Banyana doubled their lead with Modise heading home from a corner kick, giving Tanzania substitute goalkeeper Maimuna Said no chance of pulling off a save.
Said was nearly beaten again eight minutes later when skipper Dlamini unleashed a powerful shot from 25 metres out only to see the ball return to play off the Tanzanian crossbar.
To their credit, the hosts never gave up trying and Fatuma Bashiri scored from the penalty spot in the 65th minute after Janine van Wyk was adjudged to have committed a foul against the Tanzanian attacker.
A slight remonstration with the referee Judith Gamba earned the tough-tackling South African central defender a yellow card.
Sanah Mollo will remember the match for a long time too. Having been introduced as a second half substitute, the Bloemfontein Celtics striker was a part of the action for just five minutes when a stretched, under pressure home team defence failed to clear properly and the forward fired home in the 75th minute.
No sooner had Tanzania captain Asha Rashid fired home after some poor Banyana Banyana defending to reduce the score to 3-2, Mollo returned the favour at the other end, blasting home from 10 metres out.
Van Wyk made up for her earlier infringement by scoring the final goal of the afternoon, to blunt out any hopes the hosts had of a late comeback.
South Africa's head coach was elated with the performance of the national team and believes the time and effort put into training benefitted them as they look to take on Zambia in a couple of days.
"The girls have done the nation proud, we put up a good fight against the Tanzanians on their home turf, in front of a very supportive home crowd. We created plenty of goal scoring opportunities in the first half but only managed to score one goal. With the upcoming training camps this will be one of the areas we will address," said Mkhonza.
"Following the half time talk with the team, we were then able hold our own and scored the four goals in the second stanza. I am however disappointed that the team lost focus in the remaining fifteen minutes of the match, I think the five-two lead got to their heads and we broke down towards the end. We must work on keeping our focus throughout the entire ninety minutes of a game."
While Banyana Banyana were using the fixture as part of their build-up to next week's African Women Championship first leg qualifier against Zambia, and the bigger picture of the London Olympics, the home side (Tanzania) was struggling to step up a gear after beating Namibia 5-2 at the same venue recently.
The Tanzanians, known as the Twiga Stars, will travel north to play Ethiopia in the African Women Championship qualifier next weekend.
Tanzania occupies 125th spot on the FIFA world rankings compared to the 65th placing of Banyana Banyana.